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Tortious Intrusions upon Solitude and Seclusion – A Report from New Zealand

Stephen Todd

(2015) 27 SAcLJ 731

In a number of decisions in recent years the courts in the UK and in New Zealand have come to recognise a tort of invasion of privacy by way of publicity given to private facts. The High Court in New Zealand has now taken a further step and has recognised a separate tort of invasion of privacy by way of intrusion into seclusion. The decision goes to the heart of the notion of privacy, for it requires consideration of the circumstances in which one has a legal right to be left alone. The article examines first how far existing torts may protect such a right, and then considers the suggested elements to a tort of intrusion in its own right. It concludes that judicial fears about recognising a “high level” principle of privacy as giving rise to a right of action are not really justified.